When I was only nine years old, my family doctor diagnosed me with type 1 diabetes and informed my parents that unless I began taking insulin shots immediately, adverse health problems would be imminent. My world crumbled as I dove into self-pity. This was a place where my mind brought me misery and pain. Thoughts such as “why me?” and “what did I do to deserve this?” plagued me without end! No longer was I going to be a normal boy! I was to carry my disability until the day I died, which unfortunately was going to be a lot sooner than I had hoped.
The months following my diagnosis were not particularly cheery. I remember my mother meticulously picking through the abundant world of commercialized diets in hopes of finding a way to manage diabetes naturally. We began experimenting with SlimFasts, macrobiotics, Ayurveda, cutting out sugar, reducing meat consumption, not eating bread, eating lots of whole wheat bread– nothing seemed to help!
Having not found an alternative to insulin shots through doctors, medical books, or fad diets, my mother decided to take another approach. She began asking every healthy-looking person she crossed paths with if they knew anything about diabetes. This was mostly unsuccessful as most people recommended some sort of product or supplement that did not work. Finally, on the verge of accepting defeat, my mother asked a radiant lady the same questions while standing in a bank line. Elizabeth was our introduction to raw food as well as a regular exercise regime and is therefore greatly responsible for the many health benefits that I have come to experience. Elizabeth was the first person to explain to my family that heating food over 118 degrees destroyed vital nutrients and enzymes, which are necessary to maintain a healthy body. We took in her knowledge and from that point forth, my diet consisted solely of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains.
At first eating a diet of only raw food was not easy. Not only was it awkward and new, but the food I consumed seemed unsatisfying and bland tasting. In 1994 there was much less variety for an aspiring raw-foodist. Eating raw versions of crackers, cakes, pizzas, and the like was completely inconceivable, as there were virtually no raw food restaurants and nobody in my family knew how to make gourmet raw food! Not knowing what else to eat, I resorted to stuffing myself with fruit. I hated eating vegetables, and salads only tasted good on occasion so fruit was my only option. And so it went on for several grueling weeks.
On another front, my peers at school were beginning to notice my switch to a plant-based diet and found it necessary to comment: “Sergei, why is it that you like rabbit food so much?” Suddenly I was grinding up against the grain of society and feeling completely discouraged and crazy. Quickly and effortlessly, my food choices alienated me from the rest of my fourth grade class. The judgments and heckling that I received from the other children was by far the most uncomfortable aspect of eating healthy.
One day, about a month into raw foods, when I was doing a routine blood sugar test, I charted the lowest figures I had observed since my diagnosis. Instead of reading 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), as it had weeks prior, my blood sugar was in the normal range at 85 mg/dL. This excited me very much! Not only was I experiencing a physical calmness that was impossible when there was too much sugar in my blood stream, but now I saw actual scientific data showing progress in reversing diabetes. I monitored this phenomenon over the next few weeks and found that while my blood sugar fluctuated at times, overall it was stable and in a normal range. I felt drastically better! This level of health continuously increased until I was getting perfect blood glucose readings every time! For me, this was sure indication that eating a raw plant based diet worked! Moreover, I decided that the positive benefits gained from eating healthfully outweighed the level of discomfort I felt from both the lack of tasty food and peer pressure.
Throughout the years, raw food eating has largely been a positive experience. However, there have been areas where I have made mistakes and the outcome was less than desirable. Being too strict with diet and trying to be too perfect too fast carried me in the direction of physical exhaustion and tooth decay, both of which could have been avoided. In retrospect I now understand that an optimal diet cannot be conceptualized with mind alone. I chuckle about living for an extended length of time solely on orange juice, or without nuts, because at present these ideas seem idiotic. Yet, negative or not, the mistakes I made resulted in research that contributed to better and safer ways of maintaining a raw diet. These advancements should be noted and learned from to prevent further errors from occurring.
One of the biggest mistakes that I made was not eating enough greens. As an aspiring raw eater, I preferred the sweet taste of fruits and the fatty consistence of nuts, avocados, and oils, to the rather unpleasant taste of greens. To me, chewing on a piece of kale seemed pointless and unappealing. It is only when I began experiencing low levels of energy and questioning the validity of the raw diet was I forced to research green leafy veggies and see their true importance. Green leafy vegetables are the number one most beneficial food for humans. Not only do they possess the vitamins and minerals that our bodies require for daily functions, but greens also present these nutrients in a way that is easily accessible to us. With all the benefits that these miracle plants supply to humans, it is a wonder why I hesitated to incorporate them into my diet.
Nature is brilliantly designed in a way that puts the most precious answers right under our noses to be discovered when the time is right. If we look at an abundant forest we will notice that the vast majority of the plants that fill it are green. Only a small percentage of the food found in this same forest will contain fruits or edible roots. These fruits are often sparse, hard to harvest, and are in season for a very short time. This to me is a strong indication that humans were meant to consume a diet rich in greens.
As I began introducing more of the color green into my diet, my energy levels began to skyrocket, my teeth and gums stopped deteriorating, and the happy, healthy me was revived. The more I ate things like kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, and drank green smoothie, a smoothie made from blending greens and fruits, the more I became interested in learning about this category of food. In my search for the optimal food for humans, my attention was drawn to greens that grow in the wilderness. I started educating myself about wild edibles and found an incredible gem peeking its head out.
While foods such as kale, lettuce, collards, etc. offer immense nutrition to the people who consume them, they will never come close to the nutrition of wild greens. Greens found in nature have been grown without human interference and are therefore hardier plants, with longer roots. These root systems are able to reach deep down into the mineral rich, forest soil and draw out trace minerals, which are unattainable through the best commercially grown organic plants. Wild plants have not been hybridized and remain in their natural form.Thus, I believe that wild edibles are the best food for humans to eat. It is because of my strong conviction on this matter that I have started my blog about wild edibles.
After 17 years of experimentation, I have come to understand that to succeed with raw foods, it’s important to eat a balanced diet, which includes plenty of green leafy vegetables. Not only will they counteract sugars from fruits, but they will also nourish your body and prevent many of the common pitfalls that occur to raw-fooders. For more information on greens and green smoothies, check out www.GreenSmoothiesBlog.com.
Also, do not try to eliminate foods based on someone else’s opinion of those foods. Be your own experiment. Notice how you feel after you eat. What feels good to your body and what does not? For example, whenever I eat chocolate, whether it is raw or cooked, I notice I don’t feel good, and have a hard time falling asleep. On the other hand, when I eat a banana or a piece of kale, I don’t notice any ill effects, and I fall asleep fine. I interpret this as a clear indication that I should be eating more bananas and kale, and less chocolate.
Time and time again, I have come to believe that every person, young or old, is entitled to great health for free! This well-being is our birthright and can be maintained until and old age. Somewhere in time we lost the sense that feeling good physically, mentally, and spiritually was aimed at everyone. We got flipped around backwards to thinking that having health problems is normal. With all the fresh food and information available today our health has never been more accessible, attainable, realistic, and best of all, free. You don’t have to pay extra for medicine or insurance, you only have to pay the cost of fresh produce.
In addition to eating a diet of predominately fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, greens, and grains, I also changed my exercise regime. That is to say I started one! From the age of 9 I began jogging at least 3 miles per day or fitting in some form of exercise that requires my whole body to work and sweat. I have read a plethora of literature describing how excess sugar get used up through vigorous exercise. I believe that if you truly want to get rid of diabetes naturally, then a fitness routine is a MUST!
One More Thing:
Ever since I cured myself of diabetes in 1994 people have been asking me to elaborate my experience. And while I love helping others, my popularity has grown and at present I receive more emails per day than I have time to answer. I put together this YouTube clip in hopes that other diabetics might get something out of my success story. If you know someone with diabetes, please pass this video along to them!